Algorithmic love

Holographic hook-ups? Swipes for sex? Technology is changing the way we build love and relationships in the modern world. 

Technology is often thought to dehumanize relationships, ironically making people more disconnected through its lack of face-to-face interaction. 

In my opinion, technology is a means to modify the way we go about fulfilling our basic needs, but it can’t fundamentally change them. For instance, dating apps don’t create new data about us. They simply use preexisting information in a new way.

Developments in technology have made modern life easier, more efficient and effective, particularly when it comes to the internet and smartphones. Along with this, technology’s integration into society is skyrocketing. 

In 2014, 67 per cent of Canadians owned a smartphone, 62 per cent more than the year prior, according to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission.

Despite the negative attitude towards the infiltration of technology into everyday life, there are 30 million users of dating apps like Tinder, Happn and thousands of other “love applications”. This user rate, along with Tinder’s prospective $75 million revenue for this year, overwhelmingly suggests that there must be something good about the mobile love industry.  

While it’s hard to say for sure, I think technology is slowly becoming more of a bridge between the digital and real worlds — with the intent to enrich human experiences rather than take away from them. 

Happn, an app that matches you to people you’ve physically crossed paths with, aims at doing just that by “bringing the real world into the dating space”, according to the CEO of Happn, Didier Rappaport.

The success of applications, like Happn, doesn’t strictly rely on the use of devices themselves, but rather on how data about us is created and utilized. 

Love applications sift through this data (our location, what we like or dislike, how we define ourselves) to find the “formula of love” and apply it in a simple manner such as mobile applications.  

At the end of the day, “x” still needs to be solved — maybe technology is just our new algorithm for doing it.

Kia is The Journal’s Editorials Illustrator. She’s a fourth-year Fine Arts major. 

 

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